Some say that it is a foregone conclusion that Ryan Clark‘s tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers is over. Clark will become a free agent this offseason, and the vocal leader of the Steelers defense doesn’t seem to be helping his cause in terms of attempting to return to the team.
Recently, Clark was a guest on ESPN to discuss the hot button subject of medicinal marijuana being able to be utilized by NFL athletes for stress and pain relief. Clark not only stated that he knows players that use the drug but teammates that use the drug. That paints quite a picture about the players on the team along with the organization that resides in a state that still deems the drug to be illegal in all forms.
“I know guys on my team who smoke. And it’s not a situation where you think, ‘Oh, these are guys trying to be cool.’ These are guys who want to do it recreationally. A lot of it is stress relief. A lot of it is pain and medication.”
Clark did not specify any players in regards to teammates that utilize marijuana, but Clark didn’t stop there in terms of not putting his soon to be former team in the public eye in terms of drug use. He went one step further and discussed how the NFL drug policy isn’t “stringent” and it’s predictability leaves the door open for players to use drugs and never get caught.
This isn’t the first time that Clark has bashed the NFL, its policies or even made statements that could be deemed detrimental to the organization that signs his paychecks. However, when he is about the enter free agency and is hoping the Steelers sign him back for at least another season he is going about it the completely wrong way.
The Steelers are a franchise that likes to keep things tight-lipped and behind closed doors. Simply ask former running back Isaac Redman what happens when a player spouts off to the media about something that shouldn’t be discussed. When Redman said he was released to play in a football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football with a concussion it was only two weeks later that he found himself unemployed and looking for work. Art Rooney II and Mike Tomlin simply don’t want to have to tolerate issues within the organization that will hurt the team both publicly and privately.
Ryan Clark has been a key component to the Steelers’ defense and its success over the years, but at a time when he needs the team more than the team needs him, he might have just talked his way out of Pittsburgh.